Home > Episode Reviews > Ookami-san Episode 6-7 – Crying Wolf

Ookami-san Episode 6-7 – Crying Wolf

I’m a humble enough man to admit when I’m wrong (sometimes). And I have been known to harshly judge shows that later blossom for a rough first episode. So I’m willing to admit that I was wrong in my initial evaluation of Ookami-san.

I called it “the kind of barely entertaining, empty fluff that the anime industry thrives on,” mostly because I assumed that, like most shows, it would start strong, then take a dive around episode 3 or 4, and carry on at barely tolerable levels of decency until the plot starts to kick in in the latter half of the show’s run. I hadn’t counted on the first episode being one of its weakest, as turned out to be case, and the show to just keep getting stronger.

Porridge makes an appearance, filling the weird fairy tale reference quota for these episodes

My negative review of Ookami-san was, in other words, heavily influenced by my own preconceptions of what a show like this would be. And, for the most part, the show has happily smashed those preconceptions to bits.

Now, I don’t want to make the opposite mistake and oversell the show. It’s still very much an anime romantic comedy, and much of it still falls into that typical mold: the characters, the silly premise and cartoonish situations and comedic violence. But the show breaks enough of the usual conventions that grate on me so much that I think it’s worth writing about.

First, there’s how core the budding romance between the two main characters is. Ryoushi asks out Ookami in the first episode, so he makes his intentions clear, rather than leaving us with the unspoken unrequited love that so often plagues anime.

If anime had fewer effete pretty boys and more hairy bald guys with eyepatches and swords, I would probably enjoy it a lot more

Ookami makes it clear that she considers Ryoushi beneath her, that because he’s weak and freaks out whenever people stare at him, she could never be with him. So Ryoushi, being young and infatuated, sets out to change himself, to make himself more the man she wants.

I’m not sure that’s a great lesson to apply to real life, but it works for this show, because it gives Ryoushi a purpose other than awkwardly stumbling into generically erotic situations with Ookami: he’s trying to be more comfortable around people, and be brave enough to defend Ookami.

I have the give the art directors credit here for giving Ookami clothes that look both attractive and completely out of place

This means that the show gets to provide plenty of fights, for Ookami to show off her boxing skills and Ryoushi to prove his bravery and devotion. This show clearly takes a lot of cues from the action shows aimed at boys, with all its talking of training and growing stronger. But it lends a bit of action to a genre that is typically staid, which does a good job of livening up the episodes where little is happening.

More than that, it also makes Ryoushi a dynamic character, coming out of his shell and maturing as a person. For a medium aimed primarily at high schoolers and young adults, when people mature and evolve most rapidly, characters that do the same are all too rare.

In episode 7, Ookami gets temporary amnesia in the most adorable way possible: by falling after rescuing a cat from a tree

Second, although Ookami rejects him in the first episode, and continues to reject him, she’s clearly attracted to him, but not willing to get close to him. It’s not clear why until these two episodes explain a lot about her history, and why she is the way she is.

Ookami went to a different middle school where, rather than the violent delinquent she currently is, she was a shy, quiet and very girly girl. She had a crush on Shirou Hitsujikai, then class idol and now president of her high school’s chief rival, a school of delinquents. In the black and white world of anime, that’s all you need to know about his character. She caught his eye, and he made some kind of forcibly sexual advance on her.

Bad guys don't get much more evil and manipulative than Shirou

When she tried to tell someone about the incident, no one believed her. Shirou was a perfect gentleman, how could he ever do something like that? He claimed she was just bitter because he dumped her, and, being the class idol, everyone assumed he was telling the truth. For daring to slander their dream date, the other girls in her class harassed her, calling her a slut and making her life so miserable that she finally transferred out of sheer despair.

So, yeah.

Here's Ookami getting beaten by a group of older guys, if you weren't yet convinced this show was dark

If you’ve been following anime or reading this site with any regularity, you already know that this is not how these shows work. Girls in these shows are virginal, upbeat and cute. If they’re slapping the main character around for some imagined perversity, it’s still lighthearted because of how ridiculous it is.

Even if they’re the kind of person that would be completely unlikable in real life, they have some cute flaw that’s so adorable that all that can be overlooked. And they never, ever have more than a perfunctory past, because history creates complications, and complications prevent people from being the perfect dream girl for the otaku fantasies.

Also, I'm pretty sure she's trying to drown this dog here

Ryouko Ookami is still a typical tsundere in many respects. She still has the inner adorableness of all tsunderes, mostly because that’s who she was before her past changed her. But she has a past, and a dark one at that: something that has left her irreparably broken. Far from being the perfect dream girl, she’s damaged goods.

Her story may be a little melodramatic, but anime is rarely interested in subtlety. That’s something any anime watcher has to accept (and occasionally enjoy). And, while Ookami-san might be a show that has yet to truly break free of its genre, it bends enough conventions to be very interesting to anyone willing to accept that.

Regressive amnesiac 13-year old Ookami packs more adorableness into 5 minutes than her older, less brain-damaged self has managed the entire series

Categories: Episode Reviews Tags: , ,
  1. No comments yet.
  1. No trackbacks yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: